Must-Sees – and Skips – in Istanbul’s Old City


If you’re planning to spend more than three days in Istanbul – and you should – put on your walking shoes, slather on sunscreen and prepare to spend time hiking around the hills and windy streets of the Old City. My top two recommendations are no-brainers:

Aya Sophia/Hagia Sophia. If one reason Istanbul is so interesting is that it sits at the crossroads of civilizations, religions and continents, Aya Sophia is the prime example. The original church was built by Constantine, then converted to a mosque after the Ottoman Conquest and today is a  major tourist site. To me, it wasn’t as impressive as St. Peter’s in Rome, but it’s older and almost as large. The blend of religious art is fascinating – wooden seals of stylized calligraphy of the Prophet’s name, hanging alongside church windows and altars.

Blue Mosque. It’s pretty clear that Islam was founded and…

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